Two Bureau of Prisons staff members tasked with guarding Jeffrey Epstein on the night he committed suicide in New York Prison have admitted that the records are false, but they will avoid any time they are detained under contract with state prosecutors, authorities said Friday.
Prison staff, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, are accused of sleeping and browsing the internet instead of monitoring Epstein on the night he committed suicide in August 2019.
They have been charged with falsifying prison records to make it appear that they have made the necessary checks on a financial person before they can be found in his cell. A New York City medical examiner ruled that Epstein's death was a suicide.
As part of an agreement with prosecutors, they will enter into a prosecution agreement postponed with the Department of Justice and will not remain in jail, according to a letter from state prosecutors filed in court papers on Friday. Noel and Thomas would instead be given a supervised release, they would have to spend 100 hours working for the community and they would have to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Justice, it said.
August 2019: Warden re-arrested in jail where Jeffrey Epstein died, guards given leave
AUG. September 14, 2019
The two "admitted to 'deliberately and deliberately eradicating counterfeit calculations and round slips in relation to required amounts and rounds'" in the housing unit where Epstein was being held, the letter said.
The agreement will have to be approved by a judge, who can come as soon as possible next week.
Prosecutors allege that Noel and Thomas sat at their desks 15 meters from Epstein's cell, bought furniture and motorcycles online, and went around the unit's regular location instead of doing the required 30-minute rounds.
At the same time for two hours, both appeared to be asleep, according to the charges against them.
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Both Epstein guards were working overtime due to a shortage of staff. One of the guards, who did not work primarily as a correctional officer, was working for a fifth straight day of overtime. One guard worked overtime, which meant a second shift of eight hours a day.
Prior to their arrest, both officers had denied the prosecution's request for a confession.
Epstein's death and the fact that he was able to commit suicide while incarcerated in one of America's safest prisons was a great disgrace to the Bureau of Prisons and highlighted the organization, which has also been banned for misconduct in recent years.
The staff shortage in the organization is so severe that security guards often work overtime every day or are forced to work twice as compulsory shifts. Violence leads to frequent incarceration of U.S. prison prisons. An organization report released in 2019 found that “immorality is often ignored or condoned.”
Record fraud has become a problem throughout the prison system. Union officials have long argued that layoffs put both security guards and inmates at risk, but they are facing an uphill battle to gain attention.